Dormayer school, unsigned muzzle loading cap lock rifle

The 32 caliber full stock muzzle loading rifle featured on this page is made in the classic and distinctive style of the Somerset County, Pennsylvania riflesmith Jonathan Dormayer, but is unsigned. The current owner attributes it to Jonathan, and I suspect that most collectors would do the same without hesitation. Click here to see a signed Jonathan Dormayer rifle.

I have seen a rifle signed by Charles Monroe Knupp that is a virtual clone of a classic Jonathan Dormayer rifle. Even the patch box engraving on the Knupp rifle was the same as a classic Dormayer rifle, but the quality of the engraving was not as good as that of the Dormayer rifle. Click here to see another signed Charles Monroe Knupp rifle that is obviously based on a Jonathan Dormayer rifle, but lacks a patch box.

I don't claim any particular expertise or experience in identifying antique Somerset County muzzle loading rifles. Nevertheless, if I had to guess who made the rifle featured on this web page, I would guess Jonathan Dormayer rather than Charles Monroe Knupp, based on engraving quality.

The first image provides a full view of the right-hand side of this old black powder muzzleloader.
A full right-hand side view of the Dormayer-style percussion muzzle loading rifle.

The next image features the rearward part of the rifle in a little more detail. The belly of the stock is slightly concave, and the comb is substantially straight.
A view of the rearward part of the Dormayer-style muzzleloader.

The next image features the four-piece pierced patch box, which was engraved with a steady hand. This is the typical brass patch box configuration that is used on rifles of the Dormayer school. The image also shows the cast brass crescent buttplate and reveals the presence and length of the brass toe plate.
A view of the patch box on the antique Dormayer school black powder rifle.

The next image is included to show the wrist area in more detail. It appears that the hole for the metal cross-pin that retains the rear of the trigger guard to the stock has been filled in with some kind of substance. The lock plate tail configuration that is shown is a typical design detail of the Dormayer school of gunsmithing.
A photo showing the wrist area of the Dormayer school full stock long rifle.

The next picture is included to show the lock panel of the stock and the trigger assembly. The cast brass trigger guard is broken. The set trigger (rear) is deeply curved. The rod-type hair trigger (front) is typical on rifles of the Dormayer school. The rod shape concentrates the force of the light pull of the hair trigger, which increases feel and control. The difference in shape between the set and hair triggers also helps the shooter identify which trigger is which by touch. The adjustment screw is located between the two triggers. The threaded tip of the tang screw is visible near the front of the trigger guard bow.

The cylindrical drum has been turned a little too far, placing the nipple out of alignment with the nose of the percussion hammer. The drum incorporates a worn round-headed vent screw that is slotted for a screwdriver. The hollow aspect of the hammer nose is very obvious in this picture. The purpose of the hollow nose is to help to deflect any flying fragments of the cap in a safe direction.
A photo of the lock panel of the stock and the triggers of the Dormayer-style muzzleloader.

The next image focuses on the percussion lock, which does not have as much engraving as sometimes seen on rifles of the Dormayer school.
The percussion lock on the Dormayer-style muzzle loading rifle.

The next image shows the ramrod entry pipe area and the nearby incised carving on the maple gun stock, and shows off some of the curly grain. The incised carving on this rifle appears to be quite shallow. That may mean the stock has been excessively sanded, and/or the carving has been filled in with some substance. The dovetailed rear sight is located well to the rear of the entry pipe.
The ramrod entry pipe area of the Dormayer-style full stock muzzle loader.

The next image is included to show the forend of this old cap lock rifle in more detail.
 The forend of the Dormayer-style muzzle loading rifle.

The next picture is a lightened enlargement of the ramrod thimble that is visible in the preceding image.
ramrod pipe.

The next photo provides an oblique view of the brass nose cap, which is grooved for the ramrod. The photo also shows how much of the full octagon barrel projects from the nose cap. Just to the rear of the nose cap, a small piece of the forestock has broken off. I love the patina of the nosecap, with its coloration, scratches, and drippings.
 The nose cap of the Dormayer-style muzzleloader.

The next image shows the muzzle end of the barrel, and reveals that the nose cap of the full-length stock is made from two pieces of brass sheet metal. The decorative use of a circle of drilled holes was employed by both Jonathan Dormayer and Charles Monroe Knupp. Click here to see a signed Jonathan Dormayer rifle with similar seven-groove cut rifling. Click here to see the much different rifling on a signed rifle by Charles Monroe Knupp.
The muzzle of the Dormayer-style muzzle loading rifle.

gunsmith project collaborative notice

Go to gunsmithing project index for additional information on Pennsylvania long rifle makers and photographs of the muzzle loading firearms they created.

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